National Chess Championships
Ranindu Liyanage of Ananda College and Nethmi Fernando of Girls High School, Kandy topped the tables at the end of the first half of the National Chess Championships held at the Sri Lanka Chess Federation Headquarters, Colombo. The tournaments are held according to a round-robin system with 14 players each battling out in the men’s and women’s category to be crowned as National Chess Champion. Amidst the prevailing health situation, the Chess Federation has successfully been able to conduct the topmost tournament in the Sri Lankan Chess Calendar. Chess Federation of Sri Lanka is offering Rs. 320,000.00 in cash and other attractive prizes for the winners. The champion will receive Rs. 100,000.00.
The men’s section ended the week with the top three seeded players finishing on the top of the tables but as history suggests the second half of the tournament is likely to bring a few surprises. The tournament started on Friday with the top two seeded players Susal de Silva (Nalanda College) and Ranindu Dilshan Liyanage facing off against the two veteran Sri Lankan players IM Romesh Weerawardane (Fischer CC) and FM Anuruddha Chinthaka (Kandy YMCA) where the two youngsters came on top scoring wins to kick start their battle for the title. Ranindu then stormed to take the lead after the fifth round victory over Maheesha Dabarera (Maliyadeva College) whilst Susal and FM Minul Doluweera (Royal College) conceded defeats. At the end of the 1st week, Ranindu was leading the pack with six points. Minul (5 points) and Susal (4.5 points) were behind him.
There were a few interesting mid-table performances as well, notably from the new attacking player from Jaffna S. Sivathanujan (Grand Prix Chess Club) who went on to upset a few experienced players by scoring strong wins. He is tied at 6th place with Maheesha Dabarera, Theekshana Denuwan (Ananda College) and Rasika Samaranayaka (University of Peradeniya) whilst the veterans Anuruddha and Romesh were in the fourth and fifth positions respectively.
In the women’s section Nethmi Fernando stormed to a massive lead by the end of the week. She has already played against the next two players chasing her for the title as well as the reigning National Champion. It was simply a dominant performance where only Ehsha Pallie (Visakha Vidyalaya) could hold her to a draw in the opening week. Ashvini Pavalachandran (Wycherley International) who was leading the chase was 1.5 points behind Nethmi whilst two Visakians Ehsha Pallie and WFM Nevanjee Hewawasam were two points behind.
Defending Champion Sayuni Gihansa Jayaweera (Dharmasoka College) had a slow start to the tournament and was sitting in the bottom half of the table whilst former National women’s Champion, WIM Sachini Ranasinghe (NF3 CC) also had a slow start to the tournament. Ranasinghe later caught up the pace and was in the fifth place and yet may pose a serious threat to the title contenders with a strong second half.
The rest of the pack sharing the fifth place include Hashara Abeysinghe (NSBM), Tharushi Sandeepani (Devi Balika Vidyalaya) and Tharushi Niklesha (Visakha Vidyalaya).
The next set of games will be conducted from 19th (Saturday) to 21st.
Sri Lanka suffer heavy defeat in Galle after dramatic collapse
Rex Clementine in Galle
After an impressive ODI series win, the national cricket team is back to square one as they suffered a heavy ten wicket defeat in the first Test in the most embarrassing way inside three days here in Galle. Sri Lanka were shot out for 113 runs in their second innings in 22.5 overs as it took Australia less than a session to run through the opposition with spinners sharing all ten wickets. It’s Sri Lanka’s second lowest total ever in Galle.
Trailing by 109 runs in the first innings, Sri Lanka started off well as the openers added 37 runs for the first wicket. Mitchell Starc’s first over had gone for 17 runs including four boundaries. That was the end of seam as Pat Cummins reverted to an all spin attack and the trio of Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Swepson and Travis Head ensured that Australia were home before lunch.
The Australian batters had used the sweep shot to great effect and Sri Lankans took a leaf out of them trying to bat themselves out of trouble with the high risk stroke. But there was a significant difference. Sri Lanka’s bowling was wayward and all over the place while the Australians were on the money and it was just a matter of time before the batsman perished.
Dimuth Karunarante and Pathum Nissanka fell in successive overs and then Kusal Mendis and Oshada Fernando departed in the space of seven deliveries as Sri Lanka were reduced to 63 for four.
A 32 run stand followed between Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva for the fifth wicket and Pat Cummins figured that Swepson had become predictable. Then he threw the ball to part-timer Travis Head, who had never taken a Test wicket in his career. Soon, he became lethal polishing the lower order as he picked up four wickets in 17 deliveries.
Head claimed his maiden Test wicket with his second delivery as Chandimal was bowled neck and crop. The batsman was standing in disbelief after the ball had spun sharply and went through the gate. Three deliveries later, Dhananjaya de Silva was trapped leg before wicket to leave Sri Lanka with the tail. There was not much resistance as the last six wickets fell for 13 runs as Australia wrapped the Test match inside three days. Australia needed just five runs for victory and Warner leveled the scores with a reverse sweep for four off Ramesh Mendis in the third ball of the innings. The next ball he launched for a six to win the game in style before lunch.
Isipathana prevail over Wesley in close game
By a Special Sports Correspondent
Isipathana College produced magic in the dying minutes in their Division 1 Segment 1A Group B match against Wesley at the Sugathadasa Stadium to produce a 10-0 win yesterday.
Wesley had only themselves to blame for giving away four yellow cards; two of which went to Shaveen Jayawardene. The score at half time was nil all.
The winners produced a penalty and a conversion while the try came through Wewara Pandith.In the other match played yesterday Trinity beat St. Anthony’s College 25-18 and remain unbeaten after the second week of matches.
Renuka, Deepti give India 1-0 lead
India beat Sri Lanka in the opening ODI of the three-match series in Pallekele, but not before a scare. Sri Lanka offspinner Oshadi Ranasinghe took two early wickets, left-arm spinner Inoka Ranaweera took 4 for 39 through the middle overs, and for a brief period, it seemed that Sri Lanka would successfully defend 171.
However, their below-par total meant India’s struggling batting line-up could creep up and register a four-wicket win, bringing relief to a unit that would have wanted to chase it down with ease at the halfway mark.
But, arguably, it was Renuka Singh’s early strike that made the biggest difference in Sri Lanka’s chances of searching for the win after choosing to bat. She got the big wicket of Sri Lanka’s star batter and captain Chamari Athapaththu in the third over of the morning, and later closed her day out with two late wickets of Nilakshi de Silva and Ranasinghe with two slower balls.
Sharma and Renuka Singh picked up three-wicket hauls to bowl out Sri Lanka for 171. Deepti feasted through the middle overs of the first innings, making full use of the big turn on offer, dismissing Hansima Karunaratne for a duck and Hasini Perera for 37. Deepti took the final Sri Lankan wicket too, leaving the hosts with ten deliveries unused.
176 for 6 (Harmanpreet Kaur 44, Shafali Verma 35, Harleen Deol 34, Inoka Ranaweera 4-39) beat Sri Lanka Women 171 (Nilakshi de Silva 43, Hasini Perera 37, Deepti Sharma 3-25, Renuka Singh 3-29) by four wickets.
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